It’s a phrase spoken by countless people the world over, especially among men: “I wish I were taller.” But is there really anything you can do about your height, or do you just have to accept being shorter?
The best time to add inches to your height is during your teenage years, while your growth plates are still open. These growth plates are made of cartilage found within the ends of long bones, growing longer until early adulthood, eventually transforming into bone.
It is also during teen years when the body produces the most growth hormone, and you’ll have a lot more success and options available for growing taller. After around the age of 21 or 22, when your growth plates have finished growing, you’ll find that your options and results become limited – but there are still steps you can take.
Steps You Can Take to Increase Your Height
Here are a few things you can do at any age to make yourself taller. The younger you start, the more effective they will be, but you can still get at least some results at any age.
1. Sleep and Nutrition
Getting enough sleep, especially during your teen years, is the best way for the body to produce plenty of human growth hormone (HGH), which plays a key role in overall growth and development. This happens during deep delta wave sleep cycles.
By getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep, and ideally 11 hours per day for teens, you’ll be able to maximize the amount of growth hormone your body produces, which will allow you to reach your full height potential.
Also, diet and nutrition play a big part determining your height growth. Obviously, you’ll want to avoid as much junk food as possible and eat as healthy a diet as you can.
In particular, try to load up on foods that contain lots of vitamin D, Zinc, and calcium. Getting plenty of protein in your diet is also important.
Drinking plenty of water is also a good idea. Keeping the body fully hydrated will ensure that it can work at it’s most efficient.
2. Height Increasing Exercises
Besides sleep and nutrition, exercise can be an important part of the height-growth equation. While most exercise in general helps with HGH production, there are a few in particular that can specifically improve your height.
These activities are primarily aimed around extending the spinal column and/or knee joints, permanently lengthening and stretching the cartilage over time. These include:
- Swimming – Swimming requires you to do a lot of stretching and reaching, and over time this can eventually increase your height. Try to get in at least five hours a week to start seeing benefits.
- Hanging – You can use a pull-up bar to hang from in order to lengthen the spine. Grab the bar overhead with both hands, letting your body hang freely causing the vertebrae to stretch. Try to hang for a minimum of 10 seconds, repeating often. Eventually you can add ankle weights to increase your progress.
- Inversion Therapy – Also a form of hanging, but upside down, using either an inversion table or gravity boots. This is probably one of the single most effective techniques to permanently lengthen the spine during adulthood, with many reporting lasting height increases of 1-2″ or more from prolonged use.
Stretching – Any type of stretching that targets the back and legs will contribute to growing taller. Sign up for a yoga class to get the full benefits and see for yourself what stretching can do for your height.
- Posture – Not only does correct posture give the appearance of being taller, it encourages straightening and lengthening of the spine. Conversely, poor posture makes you look shorter, and can actually cause your discs to compress, potentially shortening the spine over time.
3. Height Surgery
Other than human growth hormone injections by a doctor, there’s currently no prescription drug or medicine to increase height. However, there is still one way medical science can help: surgery.
At one time it was only performed to correct uneven leg length, or for those with dwarfism, but now both men and women are signing up for height lengthening surgery for primarily cosmetic reasons.
This painful and lengthy procedure starts with both of the patient’s shin bones being broken, followed by the insertion of telescoping rods. As the bones heal, the rods are extended in very small increments (by about 1 mm per day), gradually increasing leg length over the course of approximately 3 months.
The good news is that the patient will have gained two to three inches by this time, but will unfortunately still have to endure several more months of physical therapy before experiencing a full recovery.
Because of the extreme pain involved, as well as the great expense and time required, surgery will not be a realistic option for the vast majority of people.
4. Shoes and Lifts
If you want to grow taller fast, there’s no quicker way than by using shoe inserts or specialized height-increasing shoes. Products like height-increasing insoles, which are specially designed shoe inserts, can instantly add anywhere from 3/4″ to 2″ to your height.
If inserts aren’t your thing, you can also buy special-made shoes that can add up to a whopping 5″ in height. Vendors like TallMenShoes.com offer heightening footwear for men in just about every style – from dress shoes and sneakers, to sandals and boots.
The best thing about these products is that they can be worn comfortably and discreetly, and as long as you’re wearing shoes no one will ever know your real height.
5. Pills and Supplements to Grow Taller
One easy step you can take to encourage height growth is by using supplements. Besides having a good diet, taking additional vitamin D, calcium and zinc is probably a good idea.
Another inexpensive and effective method is to take glucosamine sulfate. It’s believed that glucosamine increases the volume of cartilage tissue. Not only can taking glucosamine sulfate prevent the compression of spinal discs with age, preventing you from getting shorter, it can actually increase the amount of joint and disc cartilage, thus increasing overall height.
According to a study published in a 2002 issue of The Journal of Chiropractic (“Effects of Glucosamine Sulfate on Spinal Height“), those participants who took 1,500 mg/day of glucosamine sulfate grew 2-4 millimeters taller in just 4 weeks. That may not seem like much, but keep in mind this was only a month long study, and extended use may very well produce increased results (you can read the results of the study here).
Check out the video below to learn more about the results that are possible:
Other formulated supplements are available, which such as Peak Height, which is made with a combination of ingredients targeted at specifically increasing your height.
Supplements that increase human growth hormone are another popular option. For example, HGH.com also offers several supplements aimed at making you taller, including their Introductory Height Growth Package.
6. Programs to Increase Height
There are also many at-home courses available that you can purchase online. These programs usually offer a combination of methods and techniques that you can follow along with to become taller.
A lot of these programs promise some pretty amazing results, and may actually be worth trying for those willing to put in the effort. One of the more popular programs is the Grow Taller 4 Idiots.
So is it possible to increase your height and grow taller? The answer is yes – even as an adult and without surgery.
How much height you can gain depends on what methods you use, your age, and other factors. That being said, anyone who consistently uses a combination of techniques listed above will almost certainly see at least some positive results.
Mark McIntyre is the founder of MaleHealthReview.com and acts as it’s chief contributor. He is a fitness trainer and avid mountain biker who also enjoys camping, hiking and fishing. Besides managing Male Health Review, Mark is also a guest columnist for several blogs related to men’s health. More about this author…